Q. Do You Have Any Comfort For Someone Who Lost A Loved One To Suicide After An Earlier Profession Of Faith?
What a heartbreaking thing you have gone through.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what I, or anyone else, has to say about this, but only what God says in His Word. So let’s begin with what it does not say, and then consider what His Word does say.
To my knowledge, there is no text of Scripture which states that suicide condemns one to hell.
Indeed, we know that Jonah (see Jonah 1:12; 4:3), and Elijah (1 Kings 19:4) asked to die. Job wished he had never been born (see Job 3:1-2). None of these men were right to wish their death, and God revealed this to them.
Now, take note of these texts, and what they tell us about God:
22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD. 23 Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 “Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 “Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Genesis 18:22-25).
23 Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
“Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live? (Ezekiel 18:23)
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live” (Ezekiel 18:32).
18 Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. 19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. 20 You will give truth to Jacob And unchanging love to Abraham, Which You swore to our forefathers From the days of old (Micah 7:18-20).
6 The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust (Psalm 103:6-14).
27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand (John 10:27-29).
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Romans 5:6-10).
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:31-39).
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
All of these verses are meant to give us comfort as believers, and to comfort us regarding the eternal security of those believers who have died, whether by natural causes, at the hand of another, or even by their own hand. But even when an unbeliever dies, or takes his own life, we must acknowledge the sovereign control of God, and of His goodness, truth, mercy, and justice. Thus, even in the most painful of cases, we must, like Abraham, say, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Genesis 18:25). He does, and He will. If God gave up His own Son as the sacrifice for our sins, will He not always do what is best, even at great cost to Himself?
Take comfort in God, and in His mercy, love, and grace. My wife and I lost our first child, Timmy, at three and a half months. He died suddenly and unexpectedly of crib death, or sudden instant death syndrome. We found great comfort in God, because we knew His character, and we trusted Him completely. We did not have to have all of our questions answered, because we knew all of this was in the hands of our loving God.
There is another factor in all of this, Satan:
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Surely Satan takes great pleasure in the death of a man, woman, or child. But let us never lose sight of the fact that Satan never wins, and that God’s purposes will prevail.
Perhaps I should add that we may not see or understand at this point in time what God’s purposes are for our suffering. We may be like Jacob, who said in his darkest hour,
Now it came about as they were emptying their sacks, that behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and you would take Benjamin; all these things are against me” (Genesis 42:35-36).
It was only later on that Jacob could see that all of this was really God’s good hand at work. As Joseph said to his brothers (overcome by their guilt),
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).